A Classic Midwestern Dish Becomes a Talking Point in Iowa

Amy Klobuchar is deploying her Minnesota hot dish at voter house parties, but it may be a hard sell outside her home state.

Comments: 247

  1. I thought taconite was just another term for iron ore. It is, kinda, sorta, not-quite; Wikipedia will 'splain you. That's why the writer chose this particular description. Most of us learned the term "hotdish" from Prairie Home Companion.

  2. @Leading Edge Boomer Yes, low-grade iron ore, a reference to the mighty Iron Range of northeastern Minnesota, conveniently located near the shipping corridors of Lake Superior. That's Bob Dylan's North Country!

  3. @Leading Edge Boomer Most of us learned the term "hotdish" from Prairie Home Companion. Yes!

  4. @PBS Having grown up in Minneapolis (Mr. Keillor hails from a northern suburb), I've always wondered why it had "Prairie" in the title. Most of Minnesota is in the same forest that blankets New England. How I miss those fall colors!

  5. I am a transplanted Chicagoan. We never had these dishes until we moved to Iowa. Don't forget the noodles and chicken served over a mound of mashed potatoes....

  6. @Pam P Ooh, that reminds me of Chicken a la King! Creamed chicken (with pimientos, for some reason), served over that mound of mashed potatoes.

  7. @Pam P Also from Chi-town and tuna casserole and curried chicken (creamed chicken with curry powder from a bottle, like other spices -- a long way from authentic curries) over rice staples. And chipped beef on toast, also in some kind of cream sauce another go to for my working mom in the 60s as well as sloppy joes.

  8. @White Buffalo My dad was a soldier. I don’t think they will print the full name, so I will tell you that chipped beef on toast in Army parlance was “stuff on a raft” (a much more vulgar word than stuff). With that moniker, I have never tried it!

  9. News to me here in New York City. But if anything it shows, even more than geography, how this dish defines a part of our nation's cuisine. And that is what makes America so truly great!

  10. @N. Smith Casserole dishes are to the Midwest what fried chicken is to the South. The very best fried chicken I ever had was at a tiny dinner outside of Atlanta. Dang, that owner could cook.

  11. @Marge Keller Thanks for clearing that up. But just for the record, it's still hard to define what the "Midwest" really is. I have relatives in Ohio and never heard of a "Hot Dish" before reading this article -- but I have had (Northern) Southern Fried Chicken...does that count?

  12. @N. Smith In my experience, hot dish is more of an Upper Midwest thing. When I lived in NY, I was always mystified when someone would make a blanket (often uncharitable) reference to "Midwesterners": were they talking about Chicago? Detroit? A random small town in Kansas or Missouri or Nebraska? It was also news to me to hear Ohio referred to as the Midwest; this Upper Midwesterner always thought it was an eastern state! It's funny how context influences perception, isn't it?

  13. Believe it or not, as I read this I am lunching on Perfect Potluck Casserole. Basically, hamburger, tomato sauce, cheese, onions, noodles, corn -- and I threw in some black and green olives. Nothing went to waste growing up in my Iowa City family. We lived on casseroles and soups made from scratch. My dad always said his favorite meal was leftovers.

  14. Yet one more reason for me to remain an expat in Italy. Must everything in my former homeland be over-big, over-cheesed, over-goopy, over-caloric, overpowering and just plain bad for you?

  15. @mrfreeze6 I dunno; I was an organic farmer near Seattle all through the 1980s, growing seasonal salad greens, edible flowers, gourmet baby vegetables, and culinary and medicinal herbs, and none of it had any of the "overs". My customers were the produce brokers in Seattle, who in turn distributed it to the fancy restaurants in the greater PNW region. I sold the medicinal herbs to herbalists. Side note: I used to sell the individual greens in separate bunches, until one day one of the produce brokers told me the chefs were asking for the greens to be all mixed together in a bag. Fine then; mixed greens it became.

  16. @mrfreeze6 Nope. Not in my house.

  17. @mrfreeze6 it would be nice if someone had entered a healthy AND delicious hot dish in the competition. As an avid cook, I tell people it's easy to make things tasty -- just add a lot of butter/ sugar/salt/ bacon, etc. -- it's harder to make it healthy and tasty.

  18. If you like this article you must read "Kitchens of the Great Midwest." about the Lutheran's cooking.....just wonderful. I don't eat meat anymore so I do miss "hot dish."

  19. @Calleendeoliveira Beyond Meat sells crumbles and frozen bricks of ground Beyond Beef protein that work beautifully in shepherd's pie. I'm going to use it for a classic hot dish later this week.

  20. @Calleendeoliveira I loved that book, as well as Stradal's second book, "The Lager Queen of Minnesota."

  21. Amy's recipe calls for a "package" of Tater Tots. I recognize this is not rocket science. but, what size package?

  22. @EEFS depends on the size of the pan you are cooking the dish in.

  23. @EEFS Not sure if this helps or not, but I've only seen one size of frozen tater tots in the freezer section. You would want enough of them to cover the top lawyer of the casserole, whether the pan size is 9 x 12 or a 9-inch round casserole dish. I would buy two bags and kept whatever is not used in the freezer for the next round of casserole heaven on a Sunday afternoon.

  24. @Marge Keller Is your instruction to cover the top lawyer of the casserole a political comment of any kind?

  25. Why doesn't she call it "pander casserole". There are plenty of sensational cooks all over the midwest who cook from scratch who make wonderful things that the New York Times should be writing about.

  26. Hot dishes are perfect for potlucks and large families -- and they can expand to feed an extra guest or two at the last minute. It's no different than other candidates touting their jambalaya or cheese platters.

  27. @kate WAAAAAY different from jambalaya. But then you probably don't do jambalaya in Massachusetts. Would you call New England boiled dinner "hot dish"? Would you call clam bake "hot dish"? "Hot dish" could be made using fresh, natural, unprocessed foods; but then it would have to be called something else.

  28. My mom used to make casseroles and we kids complained about the tuna noodle version. One night, sick our complaints, she put blue food coloring in it.

  29. @Talbot That blue color would appeal to young boys. I remember back almost 70 years ago going to a neighborhood store to get popsicles with girl cousins and grossing them out by getting blueberry.

  30. @Talbot ha! My Mom served us green mashed potatoes on St. Patrick's Day. Moms are the best.

  31. When my parents moved to Texas at the end of the 80's, my mom informed me that hotdish — which is more dominated by macaroni than the recently invented (and unfrugal) tater tots in North Dakota — is called "cover dish" in the Lone Star State.

  32. "“I think it’s like the whole Coke-soda-pop thing,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what you call it. We all know what it is.”" Right. It's POP.

  33. @CatPerson Um, no. It's TONIC. (New England). And don't get me started on people who call frappes "milkshakes". Or jimmies "sprinkles".

  34. @CatPerson Up here in my neck of the woods in Canada we avoid any such dispute by calling it "soda pop." How Canadian, eh?

  35. @Cousy Only in New England is a milkshake not a milkshake!

  36. I do not think that the Deep Midwest is known for haute cuisine. I would recommend to Ms. Klobuchar not to commingle her leftist radicalism with the art of gastronomy.

  37. How about someone combs through the recipe and fixes the typo and while they're at it adds some clarification about the medium in which the onion (or is it onions) should be sauteed with the garlic?

  38. You fry it with the hamburger. You have to sliver it enough so they cool at the same rate.

  39. Funny Andrew Zimmerman has an old “family recipe” for hot dish, since he’s a New Yorker and hot dish is purely Minnesotan.

  40. @L Quin Aw, I love Andrew Zimmern; I knew him in Mpls. in the late 1990s when he was executive chef of Café Un Deux Trois, and he'd already fully embraced the area like he was a true local. I'm curious about the origins of his family recipe, too. I think "hot dish" goes a little beyond MN, surely to WI, but certainly not to his hometown of NYC.

  41. @L Quin Oh, sheesh; all we had to do was click on the link to his "family recipe" to find that it's actually from his wife Rishia Haas' family. Like Garrison Keillor, she's a native of Anoka, which you will know is a northern suburb of Minneapolis.

  42. @L Quin It's his former wife's.

  43. As an Iowan, calling this classic casserole 'hot dish' is deeply insulting :) It's best with cheddar cheese soup.

  44. "Tater Tots" is a registered trademark by Ore-Ida. The fact that it is often (mis)used as a generic expression may be a compliment to the company that created it, but it's still a no-no. https://www.oreida.com/product/00013120000829

  45. Bandaids. Kleenex. Coke. Quibbling gets us further behind.

  46. @GreaterMetropolitanArea I'm going to xerox your comment and get some kleenex when I got shopping today for tater tots.

  47. The last sentence of Ms. Klobuchar's recipe reads as follows: "Cover with remaining cheese and back until cheese melts." Taking this sentence literally, one would sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top and then lie supine on top of it until one's body heat melted the cheese--a gooey prospect and one that could hurt a lot if one then returned the dish to the oven, as is not stated.

  48. Oh wow, the best laugh of the day so far! Thanks for picking up that error!

  49. An article about hotdish in Iowa that makes no mention of cheesy potatoes, which is the definition of hotdish in Iowa, seems under-researched (ask someone from Omaha about the definition of runzas, not about what is called hotdish Iowa). I'm not sure if Iowans will take to this crazy Minnesota import.

  50. What a great theme to use in a campaign. Hot dish (or casseroles) are indispensable for various social gatherings and a welcome care package to bring to someone or a family in need of support. I remember reading in the "The Lutheran Handbook: A Field Guide to Church Stuff, Everyday Stuff, and the Bible" a section titled "What to Bring to a Church Potluck (By Region)". In this section it gives descriptions of various "salads", casseroles (or hot three-layered dish) and desserts with regionally favored flavors and components and useful guidelines. It's a funny cultural overview. Hot dishes nourish bodies and souls and are an integral part of church fellowship and community culture. I haven't had a tater tot topped one yet but will give it try. Be creative and share!

  51. Hot dish? In my family, the baked mix of vegetables, onions, ground beef topped with deep-fried cylindrcial-shaped and crispy potatoes is called Quick Shepherd's Pie!

  52. @Berkeley Bee Exactly. It's from merry old England. Shepherd's Pie is with lamb. Cottage Pie is with beef. Americans' adopted it and called it a casserole, then tweeked it by changing ingredients and re-naming it in accordance with their religion or where they lived. At any rate, a rose by any other name smells as sweet.

  53. @Foodlover: I keep thinking of Moussaka when I see hotdish. The Greek version is made with eggplant, but in other regions potatoes are used instead. The world offers many variations of layered casseroles to feed a crowd.

  54. Iowa has an ever-growing population, albeit still minority, of Latinx people. “Hot dishes” are not culturally relevant to us so any smart pres. candidate will use more inclusive ways to draw voters. Gathering around food is a good start, just needs more thinking through.

  55. @Left Coast I'm sure any dish, Latin-origin or other and its bearer would have been warmly welcome. The idea is to bring food, share, eat, talk, and mingle.

  56. @Left Coast You're forgetting that Ilhan Omar made a Somali-inspired hotdish. Can't be too hard to make a hot dish of any culture.

  57. Just the other day I made a different type of hot dish: one with lamb mince, chickpeas, onions, garlic, tomato, feta cheese and a Harissa spice theme with a puff pastry top. Be creative, use what you have on hand and try to harmonize flavors.

  58. In north MO we preferred tuna casserole topped with potato chips as the go- to potluck hot dish. As a cardiac rehab nurse I have since modernized the recipe.

  59. @Robin Love this - I was born in Raytown MO and we had tuna casserole with canned peas, cream of mushroom soup, topped with crumbled tortilla chips!

  60. Hi. Yes, these dishes sound like a health nightmare. None of these American 'casseroles' sound particularly healthy, and rely on processed products rather than actual natural food (e.g real potatoes, not 'tots' or chips). I can see how they are convenient for time or money stressed households, but as a day-to-day thing they're not healthy in the long term. Here in New Zealand we have natural food based casseroles and 'pies'. You can use natural (low-salt processed) stock in them. In saying that, New Zealand now also has high rates of obesity, because of a switch to a more American-style diet of fast and processed food.

  61. @Robin Growing up in the '50's, we ate tuna casserole made with canned mushroom soup, tuna (oil preserved of course) and potato chips. Very salty, totally yummy! I'm inspired to serve it for dinner tonite. I'm certain that our arteries etc will survive our nostalgic trip into the past just one time. Tomorrow we can eat healthy.

  62. Casserole? Here in New Zealand a casserole does not have a topping, and features chunks of meat (often beef), pieces of real potato, and vegetables such as carrot, onion, and celery. A dash of Worcestershire sauce and/or tomato paste might be added to stock or water. It is usually cooked in an oven dish or slow cooker. A mashed potato topped dish with minced (ground) beef, and vegetables, cooked in a dish, is known here as Cottage Pie, or if sheep is used it is called Shepherd's Pie (many now use the pie names interchangeably). Both are popular New Zealand winter comfort food. We may add our own quirky variations to them (such as red pepper). Recipes for versions of New Zealand casserole and for both pies are available online.

  63. Pastored a church in Davenport, Iowa for 8 years including too many potlucks to count. Saw lots of ambrosia salad, mac & cheese, and green bean casserole, but never this dish (and never heard anything called "hot dish"). I guess it is truly regional.

  64. We eat pretty much the same things in Iowa as our neighbors do in Minnesota.

  65. Don't do it to the nation, Amy! My family is from southern Minnesota and most of them ate like this. And most of them died of diabetes-related diseases. We need people in leadership roles who inspire Americans to eat healthy dinners, not dump bubbling pans of processed foods. Michelle Obama where are you when we need you?

  66. @avrds: You rather probably don’t have to budget SNAP benefits (a.k.a. food stamps). A small serving of this casserole (less cheese) with cabbage salad helps keep my two kids not hungry during homework time and warm until morning. As for me, I allow myself a few bites and plenty of cheap cabbage. I have no time to peel, wash, cook, and live according to Mrs. Obama’s dreams. At least we don’t go to McDonald’s, which is cheaper than this casserole. Trump is about slash food stamps again. What will we have to put up with next, Washington politicians? small serving — food budgeting less cheese — cheese is expensive keep kids warm — furnace on 55° at night

  67. @Eggs & Oatmeal Try lentils. Cheap and nutritious.

  68. Thanks for this post. I have a family member disabled in early twenties trying to live on ssi, I worked hard trying to figure out 2-3 meal plans that were affordable, not too hard and reasonably nutritious. Went to multiple stores including Aldis, I’m sad to say I could not make anything work. Even middle income people don’t realize how impossible it is to be poor in America

  69. I have friends who witness 6 to 8 Tom Steyer commercials a day here in Iowa. I have never tallied more than 4. So if Mr. Steyer’s campaign is listening could you please bump up the television exposure. I still am not convinced you’re right for the job, and I need your pitch drilled into my head until my eyeballs bleed.

  70. In 1966 we were assigned to a project in Illinois. Being from New England the flat farm land was something we had a tough adjustment to. But one thing that I'll always remember is a lunch at a local restuarant near the project. Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans all smothered in gravy. Just yummy on a cold winter day. Then there's Quebec with their Poutine, french fries, cheese curds, and gravy, also yummy. And I wonder why my cholesterol is so high. Hmmm. If Amy gets the nomination I'll definitely vote for her. Just imagine a state dinner at the White House with President Klobuchar.

  71. Dishes like this exist for a reason: they’ve stood the test of time. Quibbling about them makes Putin smile. It’s distracting us from issues. Like debt, environment, DACA, income inequality, education.

  72. @Dr. Dixie No Putin is wondering why we would eat such a thing.

  73. @Dr. Dixie Since when have the people in Iowa cared about anything other than farm subsidies and being first to vote?

  74. @Dr. Dixie Sexism, racism, homophobia and all forms of bigotry have also stood the test of time. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to eliminate them.

  75. Hot dish was key to my childhood. My mom was a big fan of the pound of hamburger, elbow macaroni, can of tomato soup and cheddar cheese on top. For me, that is the classic hot dish. Easy, fast, filling and reheats beautifully. Tater Tot Hotdish was fancier, with the cream of mushroom soup and having to actually layer things. We didnt do tuna hotdish - being from North Dakota, seafood was kind of foreign, even from a can. There was also the one where you would mix cream of mushroom soup, another soup like onion or celery, with rice and bake chicken over it. That was a special one. Green bean casserole was for Thanksgiving. It is too a hot dish but Cambells named it a casserole but it is a hot dish. Anyone dissing hot dish disses the culture I was brought up in. It is like dissing tacos or spaghetti. Hot dish is a solid food for working people. You can bring it with you and it feeds a lot of people. My grandma was a rancher’s wife and had a drawer of recipes cut off the back of boxes and cans and hot dishes made up a lot of them. This is the food of my people. Where I am from, Amy saying she makes hot dish is her creating a link to us, a link we all understand deeply. Never call it a casserole.

  76. @Carol That one with rice, cream of mushroom plus one, and chicken on top was one I used for years. Kids eat it. Add a salad or some broccoli. Done. The summer alternative to hot dish might be tuna macaroni salad: mac, canned tuna, shopped celery and onion, a few olives and mayo. Someone I know brought it to a picnic last year, and younger folk thought it was exotic. These are all recipes that use little time, and cost little to make: things that get people through lean times. Stuff you can stock up on in case you run out of money at the end of the month. Not the usual NYT readers, but millions of others. I think that many people with low incomes would gain from learning a few of these tricks. Yes the soups are processed, but this isn't the same as cookies, potato chips and soda

  77. @Carol Cream of chicken soup, Cream of mushroom soup and rice. Top with chicken. Sprinkle an envelop of Lipton's onion soup mix over the top and bake. You get a weeks worth of sodium in one shot, but it's still good in moderation.

  78. I’ve always been curious about this tradition of using manufactured food in cooking. I’m sure it came out of 1950s advertising that promised women more convenience in the kitchen. I’m surprised that the concept still persists considering how much we have learned about healthy eating and the poor quality of processed foods. I grew up in MN and have eaten many a hot dish, but I’m still a little shocked when I go back and see people still cooking this way. Frankly, it would take an apocalypse for me to open a can of cream of mushroom soup today! Although I relate with Amy’s midwestern style and think she’s a good candidate, for me her hot dish represents a lack of political progressiveness.

  79. I understand the remarks about processed foods. In my family we still love and eat casseroles, but have learned to roast the mushrooms, make homemade white sauce, purée, use fresh or frozen veggies lightly cooked and reduce the carb topping, still wonderful and convenient.

  80. @RJ The article doesn’t say it’s the only thing she cooks/eats. For a potluck it just seems convenient. I wouldn't eat it but I also thought I’d never include mac ‘n’ cheese for Thanksgiving until a family member originally from a southern state requested it. In fact, I would never have thought of serving it as part of any holiday meal. I grew up in NY with a Mom who cooked “real” food for dinner every night (and she worked) , my Dad didn’t eat casseroles. I think you could say that adapting to different tastes and knowing your guests is politically progressive.

  81. @Kim Of course I know that it's not the only thing she eats. And perhaps, I should have said, her hot dish recipe is reflective of her lack of progressive policies.

  82. As a life-long Nebraskan, I am familiar with “casserole”—made with egg noodles or some other type of pasta. I can’t say I’ve ever had tater tots be the starch of the dish.

  83. Thank you, Senator, for the recipe. To those trying to ruin something fun, please take your negative comments elsewhere, say over to comment on Pompeo’s abuse of Mary Louise Kelly. You want to make the recipe healthier? Throw in some green beans. Need it to be more ethnically diverse? Lots of choices there. Indeed, every culture has its own version of the hot dish/casserole/stew/call it what you like. My childhood memories include community suppers, celebrating different cultures and diversity. Too bad we are now even polarizing food.

  84. @JE I'm a proud Iowan who makes a mean classic tater tot casserole. i also make a "healthier" version that substitutes lentils for 3/4 of the ground beef, uses a homemade cream of celery soup based on almond milk. It's topped with homemade broccoli tots. Those obsessed with where their food comes will be happy to know that the cheese comes from a dairy 45 miles down the road and the ground beef comes from a friend's grass fed herd just outside of town. The broccoli, onions and other veggies come from my local farmers market. It's a healthier version but it still tastes like home.

  85. @JE The article itself was polarizing about food. The whole premise of it and the dinners it describes is to force-feed a reverse snobbery to us, in highlighting the political importance of a dish that for many is too salty, too greasy, too gloopy, and at the same time too bland. I get that it serves the purpose of maximum caloric value in times of economic decline and diminished access to better nutrition. But elevating it to a symbol of folksiness that must be adhered to in campaigns really sticks in my craw.

  86. @JE Absolutely agree. Some pretty grim posters on this playful article.

  87. In our Midwest house, it was hot dish if it had meat in it and casserole (green bean casserole, never hot dish). And lasagna was always just called lasagna.

  88. I've promised to pray for Amy because she has won my heart. Then I found out some think she is not always as nice to her staff as she should be. Part of that prayer was a petition that she would not be required to become president of the United States. If priors would be honest they might admit it is one of those things one should be careful about asking for. I persisted in my love though, and I've been rewarded with another glimpse here of Amy's wonderfulness. Once in love with Amy ...

  89. @William "Then I found out some think she is not always as nice to her staff as she should be." What the NYT did not do with that article is find out how other candidates are perceived as bosses.

  90. @HotGumption Or they could have included scientific studies stipulating exactly how nice a boss is supposed to be in order to avoid claims from subordinates that they are unbearable or conversely doormats.

  91. I am a retired minister who served churches in Iowa. The can of soup and ingredients was a staple of the many potluck church suppers I attended. The salt, fat and sugar was not good for anyone. But convenience was the watch word. This taconite recipe is a reminder of how poorly many people eat.

  92. @Art Seaman Canned soups now come in low salt and fat versions and they cost no more than the regular ones.

  93. My partner makes a very similar dish. We live in PA. It tastes good and is filling.

  94. All that processed food is terrible. I don't know anyone who would make or eat that mess.

  95. Hamburger mixed with canned soup and topped with tater tots? Not much imagination or health value there. A lot of calories, I suppose.

  96. @Clark Landrum And a lot of salt, sugars, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and numerous other things that shouldn't go into my digestive tract. What is the incidence of intestinal cancers in hot-dish country? There is a price paid for convenience.

  97. Wow. So many varying opinions about food and Amy's casserole in these posts---which kinda proves the point of this article---that food brings people together. I think some of you may have missed that....

  98. @Mary Food DOES bring people together and I love the idea of being around people who are not wearyingly uptight for one dinner, about transfats, gluten, sodium, calories, butter, "local sourcing" and so on. I loved entertaining in my modest East Coast ultra-liberal area of the country. But I no longer do because the list of food restrictions from guests is always too exhausting. And I'm a great cook. One friend even said she would not consume salad with vegetables and fruits combined because it made the nutrients less effective. No wonder so many severe liberals are frequently viewed as uptight. Klobuchar for President. Oh, that's right. She's too tough a boss and now her "casserole" is under fire.

  99. @Mary Ah yes...even diet is now weaponized. Could this cholesterol casserole be the current culinary counterpart of John Brown's raid on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry?

  100. @Mary That junk is supposed to bring us together? I could bring more people together with a happy meal, Mary.

  101. Hate to say it, but I want a President who can lead the country in times of crisis, not drag out a 1950’s era comfort recipe filled with canned soup, salt, and processed potatoes. Compte this to Michelle Obama’s push for healthier eating. Im from the Midwest. I’d love to have her as a neighbor, but this doesn’t inspire me.

  102. @Rob Merrill Women have to cook too, curious as that may seem to some men.

  103. I agree totally. The recipe that uses 2 cans of cream of something soup is revolting. I gave up on all these recipes when I checked the sodium level on the labels of the ingredients. Also, thanks to the marketing, especially around Thanksgiving, the Campbell folks raised the price of cream of mushroom soup so high, just starting the famous green bean recipe started out at just under 2 bucks! I remember when a can of soup cost a quarter. No way will I pay a lot of $$$ for a dish loaded with fat and calories.

  104. @Mary Thomas She's inviting people to have a spoonful portion as a testament to Midwestern hospitality. Relax, then you can return to your celery and ice water.

  105. ENOUGH with Iowa! The media is playing this to the hilt and, really, how a few hundred Iowa caucus members should for an instant reflect the average American voter is stupefying. We will forget Iowa exists about 2 seconds after the few votes are counted and when we’ve moved on to New Hampshire and South Carolina? “Iowa? Who? Which?”.

  106. I think a lot of Americans would say “Enough with NYC,” that attention-hogging metropolis that represents about 2 1/2 percent of the US population. Let Iowa have its day in the sun.

  107. @ManhattanWilliam The primary system is unbelievably stupid. A year before the Iowa primary even starts, candidates will throw vast amounts of resources into this state that ultimately doesn’t even matter in the general election, even if the popular vote was counted.

  108. @ManhattanWilliam Who could forget about the Iowa Writers' Workshop?

  109. Thanks for giving me my solution for dinner tonight! I remember a lot of these casserole type meals being served in the 1990’s, for some reason. Perhaps food drenched in canned soup became passé or it’s not in any of the foodie recipe books or blogs. Anyway, I miss some of it. The article reminded me that I haven’t seen a really comforting casserole in a long time- and that’s a darn shame.

  110. Chiming in as expat in France, I’d have to walk many a long country mile in freezing weather before any dish of that nature would make my mouth water. Can of cream of mushroom and can of cream of chicken ?? How much more processed can food get?

  111. @Corkpop Don't knock it until you've tried it. I grew up on many a good church potluck with those kinds of foods. To me, they re the taste of home and I love them. Yes, I have been to France and have eaten in Michelin starred restaurants. Home taste is still home taste.

  112. @Corkpop Just swallow a forkful of truffle this evening, feel even more superior.

  113. @Corkpop If you eat this, you will be able to walk that country mile in freezing weather.

  114. Her recipe seems more promising than her campaign for potus. Sorry, Amy.

  115. My mother worked as a home demonstration agent for USDA/Coop Extension in the 50's. Among other things, her job was to show farmer's wives how to prepare healthy meals — but my guess is that her actual role was to encourage farmer's wives to start using all the "time-saving conveniences" that U.S. food companies needed help marketing. That's why so many rural areas across the country have versions of recipes using processed ingredients like canned soup, jello, Cool Whip, and frozen vegetables. And also probably why obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are so entrenched in those communities. Down here in rural Alabama, if at least one dish of chicken and dumplings (made with cream of chicken soup) isn't on the table at the church homecoming, you're going to have a riot.

  116. What a great article. The Iowa elections have been cover from the top of the corn stalk to the deep soil roots. This reporter takes a different look and comes out with a wonderful tale of an election from our stomachs. Who cares wether the dish passes the always politically correct test for healthy eating. I envision that my fellow NYC residents are both reading this wonderful article and counting carbs. I wish Amy Klobchar success in Iowa. More Hot Dishes for America!

  117. I think it is a fine thing if a female candidate performs a traditional homemaker function as part of her campaign. I think it was admirable that Golda Meir, when Prime Minister, herself served tea and cake to visiting diplomats like Kissinger. Therefore, I think it would be a credit to Amy Klobuchar if she prepared her recipe herself and it was then served at her rallies (regardless who served it). Or, it would be a credit to her if she simply personally served anything herself regardless who made it. But to me, it does not paint Klobuchar in a favorable light when others prepare the food and others serve the food, and then somehow Klobuchar seeks to be more highly regarded because one of the items was a recipe she used long ago for her family. The whole appeal of the person occupying high position doing personal service for a guest is that the person is DOING PERSONAL SERVICE. Klobuchar is not doing any personal service for anyone when others prepare the food and others serve it. Pointing out that the work and service that others did used an old recipe that Klobuchar used is more accurately an expression of vanity.

  118. @Errol Oh for pete's sake! Klobuchar has visited all 99 counties in Iowa, plus New Hampshire, plus debates, etc. It's not true that women (or anyone) can have it all, nor is it true that women can DO it all. She's got a campaign to run, but knows that sharing who she is and where she came from means something.

  119. @Errol You may not have noticed that she's been engaged in other business in DC. A long reach to Minnesota. She can't consider impeachment and cook. She would have been campaigning had Pelosi not stonewalled getting impeachment papers moved along rather than hamstringing Dem candidates.

  120. @Errol I don't think you understand the concept of leadership and delegation.

  121. Any candidate who puts pepper jack cheese in casserole gets my vote, that is really using compromise and imagination to get things done. But then again I am a Minnesotan -- it doesn't take much to make hot dish better because it can't get much worse, like our winters.

  122. I once spent a Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s family in Minnesota. After sitting down to eat I leaned over to my husband and whispered into his ear, “There isn’t a single vegetable on this table, and cornbread and potatoes don’t count.” I understand the convenience of a hot dish, but if it’s the only thing you are feeding your family, every dinner should include at least one vegetable.

  123. @Kevin Ya. That's why they serve green bean casserole on Thanksgiving. Nobody eats it, but you feel good about offering a choice.

  124. @Jack Kimmes Which ironically, is also made with mushroom soup and french-fried onions.

  125. Having a son living in Minneapolis, and driving there when I visit, I have concluded that 'Minnesota nice' is actually passive aggression. Much prefer Boston where the aggression is out in the open.

  126. @VJBortolot Serving this dish to anyone with a palate is passive aggression.

  127. @VJBortolot Absolutely. As an Iowan I can confirm that Minnesota Nice disappears as soon as they hit Interstate 35.

  128. Hmmm . . . People won’t even make eye contact in this city. Open aggression? That’s Philadelphia.

  129. A friend once told me the difference between a casserole and a hit dish is a can of corn.

  130. Sorry, “hot” dish. Hit dish sounds like a name Peloton riders would give it, with a nod to Minnesota Mafia...

  131. Sounds grotesque. I've always found it bizarre that the midwest, supposedly the bread basket of the country where so many crops are grown, never really developed a regional cuisine with any characteristics that traveled well. The South has, California too, New England with its seafood. Hot dish will certainly NOT be one of them...the list of ingredients reads like a recipe for artery clogging!

  132. @History Guy The items distinct to Minnesota cuisine, for the most part, aren't commercially available — or at least, they aren't sourced locally. Wild rice is an exception. But the proteins — wild game such as duck, goose, pheasant, quail and venison, and fish like walleye pike — can't be raised or harvested for commercial use, except by Native Americans on reservations. This is mostly due to the significance of sport hunting and fishing, and related tourism, to the state's economy. The result is that you don't really see most of these foods on restaurant menus there. Walleye is commonly found on them, but virtually all of it is imported from Canada.

  133. @History Guy Upper Midwest cuisine owes a lot to its Scandinavian and German immigrants.

  134. We in northern Michigan have the pasty to distinguish ourselves; but otherwise I agree with you about the fish and game.

  135. Say what you like about processed foods, the classic Tater Tot hot dish with mixed veg and canned soup is a boon to the soul. It suffuses you with gratitude and stuffs you with carbs, and leads directly to the kind of deep nap you may have forgotten you needed. Good for Amy, who never lets us down.

  136. @Rune Love this post... laughing out loud

  137. Tater tots are delicious, although the recipe seems to have changed. My partner and I indulged very recently -- for the first time in 20 years -- as a nostalgic culinary trip. Addictive.

  138. Sounds a lot like shepherd’s pie, which we Irish-Americans top with mashed potatoes. Great way to use up leftover veg, gravy and a lb of browned ground beef or leftover brisket.

  139. @Lawyermom Oh I haven had shepherd pie in ages! I love that dish! I'm going to make one right now!

  140. Yeah, except shepherd’s pie doesn’t involve an ingredient list full of processed food.

  141. @Mathilda it's nothing like shepard's pie. The only thing they have in common is baked in an oven. That tot casserole is greasy, pasty, gloppy mess. And salty, even if you add no salt to the recipe.

  142. In older days, calories and cholesterol got midwesterners through eight or so months of working hard in the cold and snow. Hard work kept people lean, despite hot dishes, casseroles, cream of anything soup, and starch. It may not be the food of dreams for you, who drive to the gym to do a choreographed workout in your thousand dollars exercise outfits, but it got millions of people through years of hardship. Complaining about the food shows how easily distracted we are. It’s why we live with a demented and narcissistic megalomaniac in the WH.

  143. @JSBNoWI . Tater tots were invented in 1953. So "older days" insults a lot of people.

  144. Calories and cholesterol were around long before Tater Tots.

  145. I was born in ‘51. I know who I’m insulting.

  146. I love Tatter tot hot dish. Its a staple dish for winter blues here in Minnesota.

  147. I came here expecting "Taco Nite" hot dish, abounding with Tex-Mex flavors.

  148. @Thomas, that was confusing - "taco nite" versus taconite, an iron ore found pretty commonly in MN. I think I'd prefer the taco version of the recipe.

  149. It would be called taconight hot dish if it was from Mexico. Or perhaps it would just be called the Tuesday hit dish.

  150. @Al Warner And while you're up in iron ore country try the pasties.

  151. My wife, who grew up in a town much like the mythical Lake Wobegon, invited me over for tater tot hot dish on one of our first dates. The idea for a hot dish is to be an easy hot meal with all the food groups mixed together (and if you want to add a vegetable, throw in a can of corn). We're still married 35 years later, so apparently it worked.

  152. Corn is too starchy. A can of green beans works better.

  153. If you want a heart stopper, try funeral potatoes. Disco fries are also good. My family was originally from the mid-Atlantic though. So anything from mac-n-cheese to spoon bread pudding was more traditional. Hot dish sounds like a canned pot pie with a tater tot crust. I just as soon make the pot pie. Of course for potlucks, I'm generally trying to impress people a little bit. The goal is something thoughtful, unique and tasty that travels well. Preferably without much effort. Never exceed your own abilities. Know your limits. My personal favorite for a winter dish is essentially a self-made variation of a Spanish Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus and potatoes with a red sauce). If you don't have a fish monger, you can generally find frozen octopus at any Asian market. The recipe is time consuming but generally easy. Just a lot of boiling. You can therefore prepare whenever. I then casserole the dish into a finished product the night before. I've never once seen any leftovers.

  154. I'd replace the tater tots with French's fried onions, eliminate the meat, skip the cream of chicken, add french cut green beans and serve.

  155. @JAY The point is to get her nominated, though.

  156. @JAY So you'd make green bean casserole instead.

  157. @Emily Yeah, but I'd add sliced shiitake mushrooms and make air-fried onion bits if I was in no hurry.

  158. What a nice report reflecting gentler times when the political discourse was not so vitriolic. Thank you!

  159. I grew up in MN and thought I was a picky eater. It turns out I just don't like food using cream of mushroom soup as a binding agent.

  160. Oh come on - food like this is a guilty pleasure! I eat healthfully most of the time, but I'd tuck into Hot Dish in a second. Once every couple of years would be enough, though.

  161. Classic Midwest church-supper, potluck dish. Comfort food. Appropriate to the setting. I'm still for Warren, though.

  162. @writeon1: I like both women in the running for the nomination and believe either would be an excellent choice to lead the country these next four years. As for hot dish, I grew up in a different part of the Upper Midwest, and we just called that kind of meal a casserole. The version I grew up with involved tuna, but my modern take is an infinitely healthier vegetarian version of spaghetti pie, which is much lower in calories, too. In any case, I agree that a hot dish (or casserole) is the perfect winter comfort food for bonding with others during an otherwise contentious election season.

  163. Is there anything better than Tater Tots? Worth every single calorie.

  164. When I first heard of this dish 20 years ago, I almost gagged. Till I tasted it. Then I was hooked. (And then later, created a spicy version using ground turkey and Hatch green chiles.)

  165. @Tanner using hatch Chile definitely adds flavor and vitamins to this carb heavy dish. When you travel to ABQ, stop at Grandma’s K&I kitchen on Edith and eat a Traverse.

  166. Sorry to rain on this parade, but not every tradition is worth upholding. We can’t afford to eat like this anymore, both for our personal health and, more importantly, for the climate. Here’s some real leadership I would like to see: upend our whole subsidy system to favor earth-friendly, healthy, mostly plant-based foods. Make a plan to re-forest the vast majority of our grazing lands and train ranchers to manage them. Put vertical farms on our cities’ rooftops so that city-dwellers can have locally grown fresh food without having to transport it 100s of miles. We can solve our problems. We can stop filling the atmosphere with carbon. We can greatly reduce diet-related disease. This is not an elitist agenda, it’s survival.

  167. I do not disagree with you. My family and I are trying to eat more plant-based. However, poor people rely on this type of food because it is filling, has high calories per serving, and is low cost per serving. What is the plan for an impoverished family of 4 to have enough food that is filling, quick to prepare, and fits within their budget, while avoiding waste and spoilage that they cannot afford? Many people need to cook to feed their families at under $1 per serving. Google it- there's over 5 million results for "meals less than $1 per serving." It will be a long, slow slog to convert both consumers and producers to a plant-based culture.

  168. @From a poor peanut town You are right, of course, which is why this is an issue of leadership. It’s why I said we have to upend our subsidy system. Make the healthy, sustainable food cheap, and let the price of more destructive food reflect its true cost. Yes, it is a complicated, difficult problem whose complexity is compounded by culture. But we can figure it out if we want to; I’m saying that we must. I want a leader who will try.

  169. @ Bubbles Burlington, VT If you are one of those who believe that our food-eating habits have a ything to do with global climate change, then the only feasible solution would be to starve ourselves. Fot disclosure, I am an omnivore tending to carnivorousness, but I have a deep respect of the vegetarian pescetarian diet of the medieval Manicheans and Cathars.

  170. Being from Southern California, I assumed (shame on me) that the Taconite Hot Dish was Going to have Mexi flavors. Guess that Pepper Jack is the nod to the Southwest, but I never knew that Taconite is also a rock, which may be what you feel in your gut after having some of these dishes. Amy’s recipe looks super tasty, tho. I would Love the recipes from Rep Omar, and Al Franken’s as well. Yum.

  171. Below 14th St., serving the Hot Dish has a whole ‘nother meaning.

  172. Old family recipes with tater tots, canned soups? Does anybody remember how to make a basic white sauce? Boiled cubed potatoes in a cheese sauce? This fallen-away Hoosier, having just made creamed turkey in a (homemade) pie shell, has modernized...somewhat; a broccoli-cheese-rice dish using cream of broccoli soup. It feels like cheating. Okay, it is cheating. But what it isn’t is old or family. And reading her recent interview in the NYTimes, didn’t require any get-together; just coffee and (homemade) blackberry bread. I liked the interview.

  173. "Hot dish" may be peculiar to Minnesota, but "_a_ hot dish" has been the staple at church potlucks all over the country for as long as I can remember - well back into the '50s. And every family has its own favorite drawn from a list of "casseroles."

  174. My roommates Mom would make this for us when I was in college. Good with a layer of green beans under the tots. Yum

  175. As Garrison Keillor once famously remarked, on Prairie Home Companion, "the hot dish is the only culinary masterpiece named after the container that holds it, rather than after its contents." :)

  176. Here’s my “hot dish” recipe and I’m from NYC: Box of elbows (cooked) 1 pound of ground beef Onions Green pepper 1 can of San Marzano purée tomato Cumin - lots! Salt Sauté onions / peppers with cumin in olive oil Brown ground beef in that Throw in can of tomato sauce More cumin (trust me) Throw in cooked elbows Done! Serve with big green salad and it’s relatively healthy and very tasty!

  177. HOT DISH suggests gossip or an attractive, perhaps mildly disreputable person. HOTDISH suggests a church potluck. And how fondly I remember them from visits in the 70s to my Minnesota grandma and aunts (who would NOT have splurged on tater tots - how decadent). Thanks for the happy memories, NYT, and good luck Senator Klobuchar.

  178. @Heather Hadlock: Minnesota Lutherans, like my husband's grandparents, were definitely known for their frugality. Oh goodness, I can just imagine the gossip among the church basement ladies over the decadence of Tater Tots! Thanks for the chuckle.

  179. My husband used to make this for us too when we were both in college and too busy or broke for much else, how funny. Over the years after several kids and 5 dogs, I have also changed the recipe to include different veggies and spices for a healthier alternative, but the ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and tater tots remained (although now we buy grass fed & organic). It’s still great comfort food in cold weather.

  180. Why is a dazzling urbanite like myself reading a recipe that calls for salty cans of everything dumped into a pile of tater tots covered with cheese? Pass the Pepcid...

  181. Tater tots, frozen mixed vegetables, canned mushroom soup,layers of cheese. That is enough to keep me from voting for her. I find this dish horrifyingly unhealthy. I feel that she could learn some things about the health and diet of the American people from Michele Obama.

  182. OK with the two cans of condensed soup are you supposed to add a can of water each? Or just omit the water?

  183. @J Clark omit the water unless you want a soggy mess

  184. @J Clark No water. The soup acts as a binder. (In my Mom's recipe the hamburger is not precooked, it makes a hamburger like layer on the bottom so the its purpose of the soup is to hold the tater tots to the hamburger layer)

  185. If you’re serious about fighting climate change you don’t eat food made from animals.

  186. "Now, hot dish has been conscripted to help Amy Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota, win the Democratic nomination for president." I can understand that candidates have to eat local or ethnic food in their bid to pander to voters but “Hot dish is a great unifier — just like Amy,” the campaign’s cheery invitations read" --is embarrassing and an insult to intelligence of the voters. I can even understand doing a feature story on this. But as part of a campaign?? As someting that might impact on the qualifications of a leader? Or apparently it is not embarrassing nor is it an insult to the level of the intelligence of the voters. This type of thing (and giving it publicity) is pathetic.

  187. Looking forward to articles about the male candidates’ cooking forays!

  188. I kept waiting for the part where we would learn how poorly hot dish would go over in other, more sophisticated parts of the country, but it was gloppy gooeyness all the way through. That’s what happens when Democrats try to be “down home” in “deplorable land.” The phoniness is hard to swallow.

  189. Casserole: the container for a hot dish* No need to thank me. Sincerely, lifelong Minnesotan *unless the hot dish is cooked in a pan

  190. Where I'm from, this is called a "covered dish," the implication being there is something worth eating under the cover.

  191. In light of this, shouldn’t Dr. Andy (chef)McGuire’s license to practice medicine be revisited? Also her position as chair of Doctors Without Conscience?

  192. With all the fat and sodium in that recipe, Amy sure doesn't care about the health of her constituents. We should check to see if she has a financial interest in one of the big hospital chains.

  193. No way that that Amy’s hot dish could ever be eaten with a comb.

  194. @Susan No, for this entree she uses a hairbrush!

  195. The primaries remind me continually of how phony they are when candidates have to share their “homemade” dishes with voters that have prediabetes.

  196. Amy had me until I read that terrible, unhealthy recipe. Oh well, maybe I will vote for her to get her out of the kitchen, a place she decidedly does not belong.

  197. "Brown the ground beef, then drain off the fat." I suppose that's to make room for the oodles of fat pre-packaged in the cans of cream of mushroom and chicken, pepper jack cheese and tater tots. If you're an adult, you can make your own poor choices. But please don't "save time" by feeding this to your children. If this is an iconic Midwestern food redeployed as a campaign symbol by Amy Klobuchar, it only conveys to me that the Midwest and Amy Klobuchar have nothing to say to the rest of the nation worth attending, nutritionally, gastronomically or politically. It pretty much sums up what I think of Democrats who label themselves "moderate": drain away something noxious here only to add it back there, so nothing really changes.

  198. There are only two recipes in my life that are absolutely fail-safe: Samin Nosrat's Buttermilk Chicken (found right here in the NYT!) and Tater Tot Hot Dish. Where there is discord, let us bring Tater Tot Hot Dish, and all will become well again.

  199. @Anna I believe you on that discord bit. They'll all be dead!

  200. Thanks for the recipe, but I think I'll stick with Shepherds Pie! Sorry but all that creamed soup and cheese, sounds sickening.

  201. Good Grief. Am I the only one here wondering when we're going to see a recipe for Bernie's Noodle Kugel or Mayor Pete's Corn Dog Surprise? So patronizing. So disappointing.

  202. One more reason I don't support Klobuchar.

  203. No comment on combining the contents of cans and plastic bags from the freezer into ‘food’ but I would say, at the risk of sounding sexist, that nothing would be better for the Country than electing a Woman President; one that does not exude East Coast elitism. I am for Amy.

  204. @Mark Marks: I generally agree about the canned soups, but individually quick frozen (IQF) fruits & vegetables are not unhealthy, and they are essential for those living in places with short summers and long, harsh winters. I think every household should have at least a basic selection of bagged produce packed away in a freezer from which to make winter meals when gardens are otherwise fallow. It's easy to grow accustomed to groceries offering fresh produce year-round and to assume it will always be available, but weather and natural disasters can stand in the way of normal distribution channels. Just a decade ago, a series of blizzards in my part of Colorado brought life to a near standstill for over three weeks. Trucks could get to our local supermarket only sporadically, and we quickly ran out of fresh foods. During that time, our freezer sustained us, so thank goodness we had those myriad bags of carrots, peas, and spinach!

  205. A LOT of women were grateful to have canned vegetables, washing machines and dryers, Nesco roasters, vacuum cleaners, sewing machines, and other miraculous inventions. It meant 14-16 hour days keeping a garden, canning, cleaning, and other daily chores got whittled down by hours. We grouse about processed food, but it was a game-changer in its time. I would bet the first hot dish with canned vegetables and cream of (name your soup) was a gourmet offering that made women cry from relief.

  206. @JSBNoWI My wife and I were joking about that with my daughter who works at a large high end food coop. We grew up in the north country in MN and the UP. We had fresh veggies about 3 seeks a year, then canned. Nothing like canned asparagus and spinach, but tops was creamed corn. Our mothers could throw together a mean hot dish about twice a week, 15 siblings in the 2 families. The tuna noodle casserole was saved for Lutheran funerals!

  207. A fifth-place candidate’s casserole is getting more Times coverage than some of the other candidates...

  208. At my house we never buy Tater Tots but we do own a grater and eat potatoes. Mostly we also avoid recipes that are built by dumping stuff out of bags and cans. Sure not what I'd call creative cooking. Maybe a good recipe for a non-cook? I saw where Amy K. made the new book, Profiles in Corruption" on progressive nastyness. My bet is it will never make the NYT's book list?

  209. If humans were as delicate as many of the commenters seem to imply, most of us who grew up in small towns all over America would have died of heart attacks long ago. The combination of cream of chicken and/or cream of mushroom soup, a can of corn, and a pound of minced protein to some kind of carbs - and why not Tater Tots? baked together - is almost always mysteriously good. Maybe a real vote attractor.

  210. I'm having trouble getting past the fact that a doctor would make this dish.

  211. @MS honestly me too. Sodium content alone would put me in the hospital. Creamed soup, tater tots, cheese, greasey meat. That's not food, but a suicide note disguised as dinner. A stick of butter rolled in sugar would be better for you. At least it is less processed than the Franken food casserole. Yes, I grew up with Hamburger Helper (shudder).

  212. Just thinking about eating a meal made with those chemical-tasting canned soups makes me mildly sick. And beef in any form too. There is indeed a social divide. Give me Michelle Obama’s campaign for healthy eating.

  213. Hold on, a creamy casserole topped with Tater Tots?!? As if I needed another reason to vote for Amy! Klobuchar 2020! Beats a cold hamberder any day of the week!

  214. And after serving this dish, she had better change her stance on Medicare for All. With a steady diet of food like this, All will need it.

  215. I appreciate the story of frugality in creating this dish 100 years ago and the efforts to create bon ami during these campaigns, but this dish is toxic for some people. It's not the cheese or meat, it's the MSG in the soup. Don't just roll your eyes and count me out. MSG can create a migraine so intense that it knocks a person out and unable to function for a whole day. After spending about ten years with a migraine every other day, I learned about it. Deleting it out of our family diet really helped bring me back to being a functioning person ten years ago. MSG is made through various fermentation processes and is called different names but it's even in ice cream. You have to look hard to eliminate it from your diet, and more importantly, your children's diet. MSG is a glutamate that mimics the release of glutamate in the brain when you have a fierce headache or hangover. It causes the blood vessels to swell. Is that what you want for your kids? Learn to cook real food. It's way more delicious and frugal, and everyone will be fine the next day.

  216. @Nellie Belle Fermented food IS real food -- like soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, kefir, miso, beer, sauerkraut, kim-chi, yogurt, wine, buttermilk, kombucha, etc., etc., etc.

  217. @Nellie Belle Yeah I don't think most people are going to remove MSG from their diet to accommodate the weaklings who can't handle it.

  218. This is elitist. Among poor people, canned food means you get to eat next week or next month. And when you live far from grocery stores, it means you eat during that snow storm that snows you in. Or if you are elderly and cant get out in the snow without the risk of a fall. Canned food means food.

  219. The recipe brings a smile to my face as I grew up in Minnesota, home of the church potluck. A friend from Iowa who has a similar background, used to suggest we write a cookbook called the More Calorie Cookbook. The idea was to take fattening foods and make them more calorie dense. That said, in my quasi impoverished college years, I survived on left-over casserole like Amy's and didn't gain weight and had friends on food stamps who did the same. Now I can afford to eat organic, healthy meals and have the time to prepare them. Don't put down what you don't know folks.

  220. I thought that Klobuchar calling a casserole a “hot dish” made her more exotic (that’s with an ‘x’ not an ‘r’). If “hot dish” is the worst thing that Republicans can throw at her, she’s got my vote (and campaign contribution). Where can I buy a book if her recipes?

  221. Since the demographic of Iowa echos 1950s America, might as well serve as many fattening, processed, unhealthy 1950s dishes, as possible.

  222. @Gus Watch it, some lady called these types of comments " elitist". Health in America is elitist these days, apparently..... LOL

  223. In Minnesota we call this type of food hotdish. Although if it is tuna noodle we call it tuna noodle casserole. I believe that is the only exception. Curious how that happened.

  224. I grew up in the Bronx; we ate tuna and noodle casserole too, served by my Bronx-raised mother. Not just for Midwesterners.

  225. I misread the the recipe and thought it called for "shredded paper" and I thought that sounded a little extreme even for the Depression. It calls for shredded pepper.

  226. @Jim - Shredded pepper jack cheese, to be precise.

  227. Oh my, nothing like food to bring out the elitism in the comments section! I agree that casseroles are not always the healthiest food option, but let's also remember that Minnesota is a place with very long, extemely harsh winters. My husband's grandparents and mine grew old eating this kind of food. All lived well into their nineties, and they didn't spend their last twenty years bed-ridden and sickly, so maybe we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the hotdish, as long as it's eaten in moderation.

  228. @Allison I wouldn't go so far as to call food preferences "elitism".

  229. @Allison I completely agree and would take it a step further. Hotdish is an example of immigrant, poverty cuisine--it doesn't rely on the availability of fresh vegetables, used shelf-stable ingredients, and could feed a large family quickly. Year-round fruits and vegetables didn't become available or affordable in parts of the upper Midwest until the 1970's and 80's which surprises a lot of outsiders. The new appreciation for the history and importance of "poverty foods" such as in southern black and Appalachian cuisine hasn't yet extended to the Midwest, but it should.

  230. @Allison Couldn't agree more!

  231. Hotdishes were one reason I had to escape Minnesota. Not only were they a staple of church basement potlucks, they were inflicted on school children at lunchtime. But I don't remember them as political food. At least not for the Democratic Farmer Labor Party. The DFL put on bean feeds. To this day, I dread hot dishes and casseroles, which I consider fancy names for glops made from leftovers slopped together with cream of mushroom soup and not enough pepper. Ugh. If Amy is campaigning as the casserole queen, she deserves to lose — and will.

  232. @James Conner She is not campaigning as the "casserole queen"! Read the article again....

  233. Seems like it would be good nourishment for people with few or no teeth.

  234. its almost like a shepherd's pie. Meat on the bottom. Potatoes on top.

  235. Ugh. This just shows how out of touch she is with younger people. A dish made of canned soups and beef? The sodium alone would be enough to do you in.

  236. In response to the folks who find hot dish yet another invitation for doing a little Midwest bashing: this is not something you eat every day. And I'm sorry but when it is minus 2 with a wind chill of minus 22, a salad just won't do. Some versions are healthy: In a casserole dish place cooked lentils with carrots, caramelized onion, peas, celery, garlic and seasoning (to include herbs, cayenne if you feel like it, and a drizzle of soy sauce, balsamic and/or Worcestershire). Add a pinch of flour toward end of caramelizing the onions in olive oil. Boil potatoes, reserving some liquid to add to onions and roux, stir heartily. Mash the potatoes and spread on top of the lentil mixture ala Shepherd's Pie. Bake, with or without adding shaved Romano for the last 5 min. That'll warm ya right up.

  237. I've got to be honest here - I would love to eat any one of these dishes. To me, it'd be like flying to central China and eating their daily dishes. Grew up in Northern New Jersey where not only did we not eat like this at home, but no one I knew did either. (granted, lots of immigrant parents) I remember once an Arab girl from Michigan moved to our neighborhood and brought with her the knowledge of Steakums (spelling?). When she pulled them out of her freezer they looked like a deck of cards to me. Obviously this stuff is not healthy, but if someone wants to make me some, I'd eat it in a heartbeat -especially on a cold day like today.

  238. This made me smile. Being a active in local politics for years now I have been invited to countless house parties. Hot dish gives the impression of warm down home.... Don't know if i would eat it. The words Cream of anything frightens my poor lactose intolerant insides. But i might attend check book in hand, and that is what the party is all about.

  239. I grew up in the south on casseroles like this because I was from a big family. THE idea is to stretch your ingredients to feed the masses. We’re all too old and chubby to eat like this anymore but this piece brought back memories.

  240. @MaryC I grew up in the south too but we never had casseroles because Mom hated them and called them "glop." However, they were plentiful at church potlucks and I loved them. It's a dirty little secret of mine, but I still like them (except for green bean casserole) though I'm also too old and chubby to indulge anymore.

  241. Once again proving Louisiana is the only state in this nation with a real cuisine.

  242. One more reason why I won't vote for Klobuchar in our primary!!! Hahahaha!!! Cream of mushroom soup died for me after I learned how to cook watching Julia Child on TV. Tater tots (processed potatoes)? Don't they have real food in the Midwest?

  243. @EMiller Now I was born in the "Cities" but have lived my adult life on the East Coast. I don't remember a Tater Tot Hot Dish but a casserole has always been a hot dish to me. When I was a kid it was typically macaroni, tomatoes, ground beef and cheese. Staples now in the "Cities" include walleye, Swedish meatballs and cucumber salad - but they would be more time-consuming and more expensive for a house party. Check out the menu of the Bachelor Farmer, an award-winning restaurant in Minneapolis (owned by former Gov. & Sen. Dayton's sons. The time I ate there, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was dining there as well https://thebachelorfarmer.com/menu/food/. Yum!

  244. @Karen I was just kidding. Although I still don't understand the custom of drinking coffee with dinner (I have been to several places in the Midwest and agree that typical restaurant food is no different from anywhere else in the US). Anyway, the Bachelor Farmer sounds great.

  245. Compare this article to one further down my news feed “How Trump’s Digital Advantage is freaking out Democratic Strategists” and you can’t help but wonder how Democrats expect to win by reaching 30 Iowa voters at a time with “hot dish” while the Trump campaign is reaching 90 thousand at a time via digital geofencing.

  246. This is a SNL skit in the making. If the NYT wants to continually endorse Klobuchar they are certainly not getting me to take a second look by this piece. Confirming all the worst stereotypes...and at the same time seemingly finding continuous ways to derail Buttigieg to discredit his millennial (& genX!) appeal. From my read: Klobuchar - boring, staid, potentially “safe” and thus electable. That’s not very inspiring, nor is it what I’m looking for in a leader. seems like we’ve been down this road before with biased identity politics subtleties leading the news headlines (Hillary v Bernie). Remember how that turned out?

  247. Amy, I love you, but lose this recipe. Gross.